• The Shift

  • One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives
  • By: Theresa Brown RN
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,528 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a book as eye-opening as it is riveting, practicing nurse and New York Times columnist Theresa Brown invites us to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day in a hospital's cancer ward. In the span of 12 hours, lives can be lost, life-altering medical treatment decisions made, and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen. In Brown's skilled hands - as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of events - we are given an unprecedented view into the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in this country. By shift's end we have witnessed something profound about hope, healing, and humanity.

Every day Theresa Brown holds patients' lives in her hands. On this day there are four: Mr. Hampton, a patient with lymphoma to whom Brown is charged with administering a powerful drug that could cure him - or kill him; Sheila, who may have been dangerously misdiagnosed; Candace, a returning patient who arrives (perhaps advisedly) with her own disinfectant wipes, cleansing rituals, and demands; and Dorothy, who, after six weeks in the hospital, may finally go home. Prioritizing and ministering to their needs takes the kind of skill, sensitivity, and, yes, humor that enable a nurse to be a patient's most ardent advocate in a medical system marked by heartbreaking dysfunction as well as miraculous success.

©2015 Theresa Brown (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Shift

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Attempting Infinity Over 12 Hours--

and not quite making it. "The Shift" is a really good listen if you're interested in the reality of an oncology nurse's day. There's a schedule that can never be adhered to because there's always something of greater import that absolutely needs to be done. There's the lack of lunch breaks and grabbing sustenance in just a few saltines. There's the odd dance between doctors and nurses. There are patient's families whose wants are to be considered almost as much as the patient's wishes.
And there is, dad blast it: the ever-ringing phone.
There's not really much in the way of questioning life, its import, the odd chances that befall us willy-nilly until the very end. So, while there's plenty of action (how anyone can manage that day in, day out, is beyond me!), there's not too much depth.
But I did wind up caring about the patients, and I certainly wound up respecting the heck out of Theresa Brown.
All in all, a good listen if you want to get a sense of "a chaotic day in the life of" an extremely competent and empathetic individual. At just over 7 hours, it's not going to take up too much of your time, and it's quite a ride!

29 people found this helpful

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Exquisitetly written..

The Ever so gentle writing style of care in a Nurses shift brought memories of childhood care by mom.. yet also found myself in ecstasy of laughter in the witty and clever gems between doctors and nurses amidst chaos of an hospital.. Was beautifully read and made the long drive but a breeze.. Why did I find it funny "patient refused " a reason the RN wrote for wasted morphing down the drain of a deceased patient? It's possible im in the wrong profession.. A book that brings you to that conclusion is worth a listen too..

18 people found this helpful

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Health care as literature

I will begin this review by noting that this book is a work of nonfiction that reads like exceptional literature. It is not surprising to learn that Ms. Brown has a PhD in literature in addition to an RN degree.

I loved - no, more than loved - this book. It is an amazing account of one nurse's (the author) 12 hour shift on a hospital oncology unit. The book is beautiful in her compassion, candid in the nature of nursing, breathtaking in intensity, and not - contrary to what one might expect - filled with medical gore. I was so wrapped up in these 12 hours and how the author presents them, that the treatment aspect was interesting, informative and sometimes very sad.

This is a magnificent read. If one is at all interested in health care, its successes, challenges, failures and sheer unadulterated milk-of-human-kindness present as nurses "push the rock of healthcare up the hill," this is a must read work of staggering beauty, hope, determination, coping strategies and so much more.

The Shift is on my top 10 list of books that transcend description. One simply has to make the journey with Ms. Brown while she shows readers that there are remarkable professionals in hospitals who live for the good they do for their patients.

13 people found this helpful

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A really good story, not really a fascinating one.

Being a nurse, there were a lot of things I loved. I thought she described our work schedules and our camaraderie very well. Anyone who has ever mis- counted on a narcotic count though, will realize she was absolutely foolish to think she could leave with an incorrect narcotic count. I kept waiting for that other shoe to drop. The other thing that was missed in editing had to do with the performance. While someone carefully taught the professional reader how to let words like heparin induced thrombocytopenia, and disseminated interstitial coagulopathy, roll off her tongue. Someone forgot to tell her that blood types do not come in "A plus" or "O minus," but in "A positive " and "O negative." Other than that the reader sounded very professional.

12 people found this helpful

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Realistic portrayal of one 12 hour shift...

...of a nurse working in a cancer treatment area of a major hospital. I listened to this non-fiction book during a three day period while staying with my wife in a hospital after major surgery. Our two daughters were there much of the time. The younger daughter has been a critical care (ICU) RN for almost 20 years in the same hospital.

I suspect that author Theresa Brown is rather typical of nurses in her caring attitude and and her absolute dedication to accuracy. Her book is a very worthwhile listen. I recommend this book.

10 people found this helpful

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I tried to stay interested, but couldn't

I was very interested in this topic, with my wife being a nurse. We were excited to listen to this together. I was expecting to get to know this nurse's patients (and diseases), but it fell short on that end, and became somewhat repetitive. I was more interested in the author as a person, but her life that one day in the hospital fell a bit flat to me. I made it halfway through this before giving up. This book did give me a greater appreciation of what nurses do and how demanding their job is, but there was not enough in one day of nursing to keep my interest. My nurse wife was no more engaged than I was.

8 people found this helpful

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Appreciation

I listened to this book having absolutely no medical knowledge, except that of a patient and wife of a patient. I have always admired RNs but now value their hard work and caring ways even more. True not all nurses are like the author, but from my personal experience, the great majority are like Teresa Brown. It was interesting to hear just how a hospital nurse feels and deals with a busy day. Travia Gilbert did a fine job with the narration.

8 people found this helpful

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Fabulous Book

Thank you Teresa Brown. And thank you Tavia Gilbert for your wonderful narration. Having been chronically ill for the last 8 years of my life, in and out of hospital, this helps me understand my treatment from the nurses' perspective. Very eye-opening and it confirmed what I always thought; that 12 hour shifts are too much for the nurses, interns, physicians, surgeons, etc, who are very often sleep deprived. Kudos to all of you in the medical field! Thank you for what you do!

5 people found this helpful

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New Respect for Nurses

Never realized just how much goes on in a hospital. This book was fascinating and shows how very busy this dedicated nurse is to her patients. I wish everyone in the medical field were as competent and reliable as Theresa Brown.

This book reminds me a bit of A Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich. It is an entire book base on one day in the life of. Amazing.

Worth a credit or the money to hear how it is from the nurses viewpoint instead of the patients.

4 people found this helpful

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The Real Picture of a Nurses Day

This presents such a realistic picture of the events in the day of a nurse that it is amazing. The attitudes of administration regarding staffing seems universal. The quality and volume of computer documentation.required in "real time" is a key point. Being a recently retired RN, I felt like I was back at work facing the same stresses, joys and frustrations as the author. This was well written and describes the nurse as knowledgable , compassionate, and human.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Vicky
  • 09-17-20

So full of emotions and an insightful view of a nurses life

As a nurse this book brings all the feelings and emotions to life. I am a children’s nurse but many aspects and experiences are the same. From the feeling of not wanting to get up in the morning to not being able to give your all to all patients, it gave me all the emotions from the smiles to the tears. It is well written and read and should be read by all!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-31-22

Get yourself better organised!

I was a nurse for 24 years and found the litany of whinges tedious. Any paid work has its downsides but to construct a novel entirely out of moans about how tiring and frustrating a role is results in an uninteresting read. The writer claims to have worked in this role for many years but has not yet worked out how to organised appropriate sustenance for her shifts. I can sum the story up in two words as poor me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-13-21

Very interesting book

I can relate to this book in real life experience, i really enjoyed so interesting

1 person found this helpful

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  • shannon
  • 10-09-21

Not that great

I really did try to listen to this book, as all I seem to listen too on Audible is medical books. However, by the middle of the book, I was really struggling to stay interested. I also found the voiceovers to be a bit too eccentric and overall, it wasn't easy to listen too. Very disappointed and lacked a good story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emese
  • 09-10-22

I can't see how this was published

just awful. honestly I can see why is it free to download. maybe the writer paid foe the publishing but it is just filled with disrespect towards doctors or anyone higher than her station. Who is she to say she knows more than the MDs who bothered to go to medical school? another spiteful nurse who thinks she knows it all - give me a break!

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  • Forester
  • 07-25-22

This is how nurses work

I'm a senior nurse with wide experience. I have read a lot of frank nonsense about what nurses do and how they manage their patients' needs and a busy shift. Some tales seem to be focused on the nurse as a faillible and sometims failing person, but this one isn't so much like that kind of autobiographical apporach. It focuses on clinical work, the patients and those close to them, the needs they present and their expectations. I found it encouraging and truthful and would recommend it to anyone who is curious about nursing or thinking about this as a career.

The context is American. Many Americans have no access to health care because they can't get insurance and they're too poor to afford it. The patients in this book are the lucky ones!

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  • pickles08
  • 06-21-22

A true insight to a tough job

I don’t know what I expected really, in parts I was gripped, moved, as though I was there alongside the author. In others, I felt distant probably not the way she meant for it to be, I think that it touched upon some sad parts of my life, of my stories. Well written all the same. Well done, and thank you for being one of those kind, caring souls at the end of many a life’s journey

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  • Draco
  • 05-04-22

Very engrossing

This was an eyeopener to the hard, and "heavy" work that nurses are involved in on an Ocology Unit - work that often goes unlauded by senior staff and administrators in hospitals. Well written and well narrated.

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  • Flossy
  • 04-13-22

the shift

very interesting book gives a insight to what the nurses do and how they feel

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  • SUNFLOWER 🌻
  • 02-21-22

HOSPITAL CHAOS

I really enjoyed listening to this book, and the narrator really captured the book really well, a great insight into thenlifebof the NHS nurses

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-18-21

interesting insight into nursing

great insight into nursing but too boring. too much generic yadda yadda with no clear storyline. i gave up after 3.5 chapters.

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  • cameron.hoare
  • 05-31-17

an interesting take into the female nursing mind

i loved this story. well told it is interesting to hear how the female mind thinks.